I want to combine the technical and the creative

Hi, I am a 50 year old looking for a career change. I started my career as an engineering design draughtsman, first on the drawing board and then using CAD. I then diversified into CAD support, and I now work in an IT department as CAD support engineer in a large company, where I am involved in CAD user support and various project work as technical lead.

I have an HNC in Engineering and an Open University degree in IT/CAD. I've been unhappy with my role for a long time now.

One of my strengths (and frustrations!) is that I am a good all-rounder and I can turn my hand to most things, so I have been able to make a success in the world of CAD Support and IT, but deep down I'm not really that interested in it.

My interests are more arts related - architecture, music, history and design. The only real creative outlet I currently have is playing keyboards in a band - I've played in many bands over the years. I also volunteer for the National Trust as room guide. I am very interested in the Creative Choices website and the roles that it features within the design, theatre and heritage sectors in particular. I would be happy in a role that combines the technical and creative.

I appled for a project draughtsman role at the Royal Opera House but didn't get the job, presumably because of lack of experience in the sector.

The main question I have is how do I get my foot in the door as a mature career changer?  

— Richard Davies

Expert answers

Nike Jonah 's reply:

Hello Richard,

Thanks for your question. 

Recently, I've come across a number of people on a similar trajectory. 

I would advise you to connect with a few creative industries head hunters, as many understand transferable skills and how to package your wide and varied skills in a way that can serve cross-sector. They can also help pitch you as unique, as sometimes it's just a small case of language/ buzz words that have evolved so you may need to tweak you CV.

Suggested headhunters - some of them will allow you register as someone looking for work, or you can write to the person who heads up the department that interests you the most and request a meeting:

  • The Talent Business - http://www.thetalentbusiness.com
  • 24 Seven http www.24seventalent.com
  • Heather Newill at AEM does lots in the transferable skills  http://www.aeminternational.co.uk/about_us.php 

You could also connect into industry conferences and events, as much work comes from who you know and networking, and just as importantly it may help spark your thinking around the sort of organistions that may interest you.

The conferences/events I would suggest:

  • Nesta FutureFest http://futurefest.org
  • Google have a space in London called Google Campus https://www.campuslondon.com
  • Royal Society for Arts https://www.thersa.org/ 
  • Guardian also do some great events

Lastly, there is a new creative community network called Dots which may be worth signing up for: http://the-dots.co.uk/?gclid=CLrnusLtzcMCFVMatAodXksAAg

I hope you find some of this helpful.

Best of luck with your career shift, I'm sure you'll do well.

Kind regards 


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